Benjamin Kubelsky, 14 February 1894, Waukegan, Illinois, USA, d. 26 December 1974, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. Having studied violin, Benny failed to build a career in music. After serving in World War I he returned to the stage as comedian Ben K. Benny. His breakthrough came on radio where he and his wife, Mary Livingstone, and Eddie Anderson formed an act with Benny as the meanest man in the world. His deliberately awful violin playing and impeccable comic timing made him an outstanding comic figure. Regulars included singers Dennis Day and Phil Harris and fellow comic Fred Allen, with whom Benny had a make-believe feud. Benny took his routines and perceived persona into films including Hollywood Revue Of 1929 (1929) and The Broadway Melody Of 1936 (1935, as the character Bert Keeler), both with songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, the latter also featured Benny Goodmans band. Benny starred in Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934, in...
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